COSAM Today is a newsletter that provides alumni and friends of the Auburn University College of Sciences and Mathematics, or COSAM, with a smart way to stay on top of the latest news and updates from the college.

Friday, May 25, 2018


Meet Abbey Phelps, COSAM's 2018 Spring Graduation Marshal

Abbey Phelps, a senior from South Lake, Texas, was selected to be the spring 2018 Graduation Marshal for COSAM. She graduated with two degrees, one in biomedical sciences, one in Spanish. With the biomedical science degree, Abbey plans to pursue a career in physical therapy, a passion that stems from a back injury in high school. A mission trip ignited her love for Spanish, and she hopes to combine the two fields in her career, considering the idea of working with a sports team that has Hispanic athletes. When reflecting on her time at Auburn, Abbey discusses the lifelong friends in COSAM and the wonderful advisors that encouraged her.


Four from COSAM receive NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Three of the five Auburn University students who received 2018 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships are from the College of Sciences and Mathematics, and one COSAM alumna also received a fellowship. The COSAM recipients are first-year graduate students in the Department of Geosciences Steph Courtney and Elijah Johnson, both of whom work with Associate Professor Karen McNeal; second-year graduate student in the Department of Biological Sciences Breanna Sipley, who works with Professor Ken Halanych and Assistant Professor Jamie Oaks;  and COSAM alumna Jill Joffee, biochemistry ’14, who as an undergraduate conducted research under the direction of Holly Ellis, The William B. Molette Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The prestigious fellowship program helps ensure the vitality and diversity of the scientific and engineering workforce in the United States.


Dean Giordano named Distinguished Alumnus at Purdue

Congratulation to COSAM Dean Nicholas Giordano for being named the 2018 College of Science Distinguished Alumnus at his alma mater, Purdue University. Giordano received a bachelor of science in physics from Purdue before pursuing his doctorate in engineering and applied sciences from Yale University. He is an expert in nanoscale physics, musical acoustics and the physics of musical instruments, and a fellow of the American Physical Society. Prior to joining the Auburn Family as dean of COSAM in 2013, Giordano served as head of the Department of Physics at Purdue University from 2007 to 2013.


Curles recognized for community service

Wesley Curles, a COSAM alumnus who graduated this spring with a degree in biomedical sciences, received the Brad Davis SEC Community Service Award. An Auburn track and field athlete, Curles was chosen by a committee of faculty athletics representatives from SEC universities.

"It's a huge honor and a little overwhelming to receive the Brad Davis Community Service Leader of the Year award," Curles said. "I'm proud to be a part of organizations like Auburn and the Southeastern Conference that value service and giving back to the community so much that they have created this award that is focused on community service. It's especially important at this point in my life to focus on others more than myself. Giving back is a reminder that it is important to invest in others and it also provides me proper perspective."

During his time at Auburn, Curles did extensive volunteer work with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, East Alabama Medical Center and the Jason Dufner Charitable Foundation, as well as Salvation Army Angel Tree Christmas Assistance, The Big Event, Dean Road Elementary Running Club and Cary Woods Elementary Read Aloud Day. Curles has also tutored local high school students in chemistry, biology and math, and as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America has served as a mentor to a local elementary school child since 2016


Worley named 2018 COSAM Distinguished Alumnus

COSAM Professor S.D. “Dave” Worley has been selected as the 2018 COSAM Distinguished Alumnus. He will receive the award at an event on September 28, 2018. Established in 2004, the College of Sciences and Mathematics Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award is given annually to a graduate who exemplifies the legacy of excellence for which the college is known. To be eligible for consideration, candidates will have achieved significant stature in their chosen field, whether commerce, industry, academia, medicine, and military or government service. In addition, a history of commitment to Auburn University and COSAM will be evident through their service as a student mentor, advocate for the college, and committee or board member, and by providing financial support, either through corporate or personal giving. Recipients will be selected by a committee chosen by the dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics.

Worley's research is leading to safer drinking water in developing nations through advanced, longer-lasting water filters. The filters contain polystyrene beads that hold oxidative chlorine or bromine atoms, germ-killing agents, for long periods of time and can be easily refurbished – the results of Worley's N-halamine chemistry. He received 40 patents in the course of discovering this process, which has been commercialized by Seattle-based HaloSource Inc. His research also involves work to bridge the gap between high-vacuum surface science and industrial catalytic chemistry. The work has led to many publications in physical chemistry and surface science journals. Most recently, he has developed a cost-effective, staph-resistant bandage. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry from Auburn in 1964 and a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin in 1969. He returned to Auburn as a faculty member in 1974. In 2006 he won Auburn's Creative Research and Scholarship Award.

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